The fact is that clothing industries in Lesotho and Mauritius have grown in recent years, as opposed to the steep decline in the South African industry, because piecework and productivity incentives, outlawed in South Africa, are allowed in Lesotho and Mauritius.
Currently, about half of the South African industry is under threat - bargaining councils and unions such as The South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu) try to force these companies to implement union-employer negotiated wage and other agreements, which, some factory owners say, are too high for them to be viable. Unfortunately - the conflict heads for a showdown which could result in the closure of up to 470 non-compliant factories within the next six months, resulting in 18 000 to 28 000 job losses.
According to the Mail and Guardian Online
report, the owner of one of Botshabelo'sv few remaining clothing factories, Jaffer Nooroodien, says that the apartheid government's incentives for creating jobs were saner. "The government offered six years of incentives, which were much easier to access than subsidies are today". As a result, Nooroodien says, Botshabelo/Thaba Nchu were, in those days, thriving manufacturing centres. "Now almost all the factories are empty - it is a ghost town".